Ep. 127

Unleashing Confidence through Neuroscience with Caroline Brewin with Caroline Brewin

Welcome to a special episode of Interact’s Grow Podcast, where we share insights and strategies to help you scale your business. In this episode, we’re excited to meet Caroline Brewin, the founder of Brain Powered Coaching, which is committed to empowering women with the neuroscience of confidence. 

Caroline has over 18 years of Global Investment Banking experience and is a professionally trained Executive and Confidence Coach. Through her Executive Coaching and unique Confidence programs, she is committed to empowering Individuals and Corporates to achieve their personal and professional potential. Join us as we dive into her quiz on this episode!

Learn more about Caroline and Brain Powered Coaching: www.brainpoweredcoaching.com

What’s Your Confidence Character? Take the quiz to find out

Hi guys. And welcome back to Interact’s podcast. I’m your host, Jessmyn Solana. Always great to be with you as always. With me today, I have Caroline Brewin. Caroline, thank you so much for hopping on with us today. Great pleasure. Thank you for having me. And it’s your first time on our podcast. People already kind of got your formal bio, but in your own words, do you mind actually giving us, you know, who you are, what your business is and who your customers are?

Of course. So my name is Caroline Brewin and I, I guess I like to describe myself as kind of an escapee from the corporate world. I was in investment banking for 18 years and I’ve worked in Australia and Singapore and from the UK, but I’m from the UK originally and and so spent many years kind of Going through a process of, you know, leadership and, and, you know, traveling around the world and, you know, all sorts of different roles and how I got to the place where I am now was kind of a product of that in that I felt like I had there was so many amazing women who I saw who lacked confidence.

And I actually ended up building my business, which is called Brain Powered Coaching. And Brain Powered Coaching is all about empowering people with the neuroscience of confidence. And in particular women, because you know, in the investment banking world, that was something which was really, really kind of obvious to me.

And that we, you know, from our corporate pyramid perspective, we needed to get more women up through the organization. So. I work with corporates and individuals and I run various courses on the neuroscience of confidence and I work with individuals on executive coaching as well. So kind of the broader public and then working with, with corporate organizations too.

I love that. I love that. I remember when I was, when you had sent me your bio and I had originally read investment banking and I don’t know why that word sounds so scary to me. Yeah. To be honest with you, it was one of those things that most people like when I used to go to a drinks party, I I would say I was in banking and everyone would be like, Oh, great.

And then walk away. And now I say, I’m an entrepreneur. We run my own business. I focus on confidence and everyone’s like, they just lean in because it’s something which just impacts people so much more. And you know, talking about derivatives was definitely not something that really got anyone excited.

People who maybe were also in the same world, but, you know, weren’t scared of investment banking. I know that I have a couple of cousins who were in investment banking and I don’t know why. I think it just feels intimidating, at least if you’re not in it or you don’t know it. I’m also really bad at math.

Yeah. Don’t tell anyone. So am I always, or is the irony. But I think that that, that was what was really interesting about being in that world because for a lot of it I guess I felt like I had a bit of imposter syndrome. So that feeling like I was a fraud when I first went into the, the industry, I actually was very honest and said in my interview, I don’t know what an investment bank is, but I will learn.

And they gave me the job. I’m not sure whether they would do that nowadays, but they were like, you’ve obviously got something. And actually. So at the beginning I didn’t have imposter syndrome because I was like, well, look, I’ve been honest, you know, and I was learning fast. But over time I felt like I probably should know more than I did.

And so it would pop up, which is the thing about imposter syndrome. It pops up, you know, it’s very context dependent. And so understanding that and understanding these areas where confidence has such a massive part in terms of, you know, How you put yourself forward for roles, how you speak up in in, you know, meetings or presentations or, you know, put yourself into situations for, you know, an interview or something.

If you don’t have that, if it’s, if you’re constantly trying to, trying to manage yourself and your confidence levels then you really struggle. And that’s, that’s why I went into that kind of area of passion for my business. I love that. And you specifically mentioned that it’s the neuroscience of confidence.

Can you talk a little bit more about what that is and how you kind of came to that as the core of your business? Yeah. You know what? It was partly because I had been, I’ve done so much training over the years and it, I was very lucky. I’d, I’d had all sorts of training and a lot of it was fantastic, but so much of it lacked substance.

So much of it was just statements about we operate like this and it wasn’t, I would always be the why person, excuse me, like, why, but why, but why? And, and, and I think it’s partly as a result of the the, the neuroscience field has just had a hockey stick you know, in the last, you know, 10, 15 years, I guess, partly due to the kind of imaging they can do with the brain now.

They can understand so much more on the brain. And what that has done, it’s enabled us to understand such a strong connection between brain and behavior. And so rather than kind of just working on a piece around presentation skills, The neuroscience piece is breaking that down and saying, okay, well, what’s underneath that?

What will impact your confidence levels? And when you understand how your brain works, what’s happening, then you can understand how to control it or manage it and improve it. And so a good example for you, if you think about what’s called the amygdala hijack. So you know that if you go into, if you’re in a meeting and someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, and you go, And you just have this, you know, this complete freeze, what’s actually happening in your brain is it feels under threat.

So it feels your, your brain is operating on a very old operating systems from, you know, many hundreds of thousands of years ago. And the threat response that you have in your brain means means means that the energy that you have in your brain moves from your prefrontal cortex, which is at the front.

And Moves towards the back of the brain. Because you only have a certain amount of energy you can use. It’s about 20 watts of energy. And so it can’t power up because it would fry like an egg. So that 20 watts of energy basically has to move and say your brain says, I’m under threat. I need to be able to run away.

I need to be able to fight. That fight, flight, freeze response. So when you’re in a meeting and someone asks you that question, your brain’s initial thing is, bite, flight, freeze. It’s not thinking, it’s not using the executive functioning part of your brain, which is that prefrontal cortex, to come up with a fantastic response.

You know, Oh, well, actually, you know, you’re what you’ll find is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And that’s why we think about afterwards. So the neuroscience piece is when you understand, okay, well, that’s what’s happening to me. Therefore it’s not me being not knowing my stuff. It’s not me being you know, a week or emotional.

We label and judge ourselves so much on these physical responses that we have. And actually, once you take away that judgment, you can say, Oh, okay, so what can I do about it? Well, you can do some breathing exercises, a double breath in a long breath out through your nose that will calm you down very quickly.

And then you’re much more capable of dealing with those tough questions. And so that’s just one kind of snapshot or something, which when you understand that science then you understand, okay, how can I, what can I do about it? And that gives you just many more tools in your arsenal to feel more confident.

Yeah, I love that. I think I’m definitely the type of person, kind of like you were saying, like, well, why? Well, why? And it’s like, okay, well, people will say, You know, breathing exercises work, but I think when I am actually explained to here’s what’s happening in your brain or here’s what’s happening in your body and why that works or why, you know, this and that, then when I am in that spot and I think about, I guess you could say this isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say this stuff.

That’s why I’m speaking to experience, but when I’m in that spot and I think about, Oh, this is what my brain is doing. It kind of acts as also part of, you know, the calm, like calming me down of, Oh, you know, I’m understanding what’s going on and it’s forcing me to kind of think about what’s really happening a little bit.

And. I think what I really appreciate in your business that you do that is, you know, there are a lot of, you know, different courses or coaching that you can do, but there’s, there’s, it kind of, I don’t know what it is about science. Obviously it’s science, but it just backs up, you know, it’s that support of, you know, this really does work because here’s exactly what’s happening and here’s how it’s happening.

And you’re able to explain that really easily. aNd yeah, and this is, I think particularly, I guess, a lot of, a lot of the clients that I tend to have, obviously, you know, the kind of finance world is a, is a natural place because you know, but certainly corporates. And so, you know, there’s plenty of, you know, smart people who want evidence, right?

Like I say, not that, not the fluff, not the, not the statements they want, the substance underneath it. So you can see people just lock into it. They go. Okay, versus just a, you know, a blase statement that, and when you only you try and double click on it from someone and I’ve had them in the past where I’d be like, but why?

And they couldn’t answer. And you’re just, your credibility drops, right? So yeah, I think it’s. It’s super powerful. And it also, I think that judgment piece when you take away the fact that, okay, maybe I will feel like dealing with conflict is really tough, but there’s a very good reason why we find conflict tough.

In fact, there were kind of several reasons, but so it’s not, Oh, I’m just, I’m just a weak person or I’m terrible at conflict. This is something that I’m really bad at. It’s no, no, no, there’s, there’s really good reasons that, you know, we want to be part of a tribe. And if someone is attacking you.

That’s threatening your place in a tribe. So what can you do about it? Et cetera. So, yeah, it’s yeah, it’s, it’s power, right? Knowledge is power. And you mentioned that you work mostly with people who are in the corporate space. Was there a reason that you decided to have, you know, that particular type of role as your customer rather than, you know, let’s say somebody who’s also an entrepreneur or I guess, yeah, like doing something else?

It’s only that tends to be people I attract it’s more because that’s the world I’ve come from. So in terms of the, the kind of clients who come to me, they say you know, you, you want someone as a coach who, who is experienced and, you know, for when I’m communicating to people and in one of my courses executive authentic confidence that I deliver that predominantly to women and.

I, I can talk to them and I can empathize, right? I can talk about the challenges that I had when I was in my investment banking world. The ups and downs, you know, the things which really push you, whether it’s kind of bullying or you know, just having seven roles at a time and, you know, trying to manage multiple different stakeholders, all that kind of thing, tough stakeholders.

And when you can tell the personal stories and really relate to them, that’s what, well, people connect on. So Having said that though, part of the reason I, I created my online course, which is brain powered confidence was because I wanted to help people more broadly than that. But certainly I think one of the challenges of being in an entrepreneur role is, is kind of.

Going down a path, what, you know, what kind of client should I have? Because initially it was all individuals, but that has its own, the B2B, B2C has its own challenges, right? In terms of, you know, you can, you can do the course on Tuesday. Someone else can do it on Wednesday. Someone else can do it on Thursday.

And so when you’re trying to deal with 20 of those. individuals, that’s much harder than speaking to one business. But the online course is that is, it’s much more self serve. And for one of the options I do live masterclasses with it as well. So I connect with people that way, but the self serve piece enables me to kind of fulfill my mission, which is I really want to empower people with the with the neuroscience of confidence and it not just be corporate.

So I want that to be broader. Yeah, I find it. Really like, you know, interesting sort of what, what is the process that you, you know, you start your business. And you’re like, okay, I have an idea of who I want to help, but let’s say, I think what grabbed my ear was you say, that’s the kind of people that I attract.

And when you do start your business, you want to make some money. So when you start that way, if it doesn’t look like what you thought it was going to look like, how do you kind of change your own perspective to, okay, maybe this is just what I need to kind of go with the flow until. I can really define the type of, you know, customer or client that I want to have.

Yeah, I think you’ve just got to be, it’s the speedboat analogy, right? You’ve just got to be a speedboat, not an oil tanker. Because you, I guess you, you, you sense a direction. There’s a guy called Rory Vaden. He has a wonderful quote. You are best served. We are best placed to serve the person we once were.

And because you can empathize because you could really connect with people. And so I think if you come from that, that, that, From my perspective, and I think from clients that I deal with, that seems to be a place which is a really strong place to start. aNd yet at the same time, who knows who might come out of the woodwork.

And from that point of view, you know, that’s, maybe that’s a wonderful surprise. maYbe there may be some people who you think, I’m going to nail it with, you know, teenagers. And in fact, you have no experience with teenagers. And in fact, they aren’t interested in it whatsoever. So I think this is the piece where you just got to be nimble.

And certainly one of the things that I’ve had to let go of, which is a bit really tough one for me is perfectionism. Which I spent so many I dread to think how much time I spent being perfectionist. If I, I had to let go of, I’ll get it perfectly right the first time. I’ve had to let go of that and say, you know what?

You know, fine. I’ve tried it. Something else. And Einstein has a quote, which is, failure is success in progress. And I just think of that all the time. So yeah, I dunno, I think, you know, you, you, you want to have your customer avatar. You want to have the person who, who am I really sold to? And I have them up on my wall and all the time I’m looking at that picture and I’m like, right, what are the, what are their challenges?

What are the things they they need the most? What, how am I talking to them? What, what are their, what, what kind of language do I need to use? Whilst having the versatility to be able to move around with that too. I love that. I think it’s really important to actually think about that as you are sort of formulating who, who am I really doing this for?

And yeah, I just, I, I, this conversation has been coming up a lot for me where, you know, some entrepreneurs that sort of battle between when you get a client that you kind of feel isn’t the right fit, but. It’s sort of this, okay, do I just go through with it, or do I not go through it? Go through with it, you know?

So I guess, like, in your experience you know, how do you kind of, Sort of, I want to say like write down a pros and cons or like figure out the pros and cons between like, okay, should I go for it or not go for it? Yeah. It’s really interesting because when you’re starting, it’s obviously you want any client and you’re like, someone loves me.

They want to work with me. And interestingly, I won’t mention who they were, but I, The first client who wanted to to take my, my course, the the conference course, which I delivered to corporates. In fact, it didn’t work out and I’m so glad it didn’t. It appeared to be such an amazing opportunity.

And I was like, Everyone was like, how can you get that client to start with? That’s ridiculous. But then it all fell through, you know, they went in a different direction. Fine. But I’m so pleased because in terms of when I look at my core values um, around honesty, integrity, the kind of things that I teach in the course.

around like we go into values. We talk about, you know, what is important to you? You know, how does that help you make decisions? And that you need to be really self aware because self awareness, it comes back to that knowledge is power. If you’re aware of what is important to you and what’s going to upset you, what’s going to be really difficult for you to manage that enables you to make the best possible decisions in terms of who should I work for?

What team should I be in? Should I leave my job? Should I stay in my job? And so the organization, which I was potentially going to deal with actually doesn’t hold a lot of those values true. So for me, there would have been dissonance. And to be honest, I think I could well have ended up coaching quite a few of the people out of the organization, which would have been slightly awkward.

It does, it does happen sometimes because some people are just in the wrong fit. And when you shine a light on them and what’s going on with them at a deeper level, then they say, you know what? I’m just not meant to be here and that’s okay. But I think you, you need to look at yourself in the mirror every day.

You need to operate from a place of integrity and you know what, there’ll be another client. There will, you just need to believe in yourself. If you’re going out there with something which you’re passionate about and that you put the hard work in, you will find the right client. You’ll find the best clients for you.

I love that. Well, Caroline, thank you so much for hopping on with us and telling us your story. I do have two questions that I close out with if you’re up for it. Sure. Okay. Second to last question. What are three things most people would not know about you?

Three? Okay. Okay. We’re gonna, let’s see. So I used to play the drums. Oh, One thing that, yeah, not very well, but I did, I didn’t um, couldn’t read music either. So I kind of made that up. I love drum and bass music which, yeah, most people don’t know apart from there was one day when I was walking in the office and I had my headphones in and I had my drum bass pumping and it was great.

About 7. 30, 8 in the morning and I sat down at my desk and put my headphones down and everyone’s like, wow. I was like, are you okay over there? The office was quiet and I didn’t realize that they could hear it all so that’s, but most people don’t know that. And a third.

I swam with crocodiles in Australia, which was a very stupid thing to do, but it was, it was terrifying. It was in, in Australia, they, you know, they said, Oh, don’t, you know, they’re only, they’re only freshies that only give you a nip, which so freshwater crocodiles are, are smaller, but they’re still crocodiles.

Yeah. But they’re not, they’re not aggressive like the the normal ones that were terribly frightened of, but still, yeah, that was. You know, when you just look back and think, I’m really glad that I survived with all my limbs intact. It’s really so funny because you said nip and I’m like, but they still have big teeth, even if they’re small, right?

Precisely. I know. Even the, what does that actually look like? Exactly. Well, we were on boogie boards and so we were practicing the crocodile evacuation technique at the time, which. Did not work at all. Cause when you try and jump on a boogie board, you go one way and the boogie board goes in a different way.

So yeah, it was, it was not very clever, but nevermind. Still, I guess, looking back a cool experience. Quite nice to talk about it. And where can people find you online if they’re looking? So my I’m on Instagram and Facebook at brainpower coaching and my website is brainpower coaching. com.

Beautiful. And we will link those in the show notes for you guys. So definitely check those out. And for those who are listening, we’ll see you next time. Thank you.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.